Storyline: Suns Coaching Job

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“We are thrilled to bring Valley resident Igor Kokoškov back to Arizona as head coach of the Phoenix Suns,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Igor has been a pioneer throughout his basketball career and he brings a wealth of high level coaching experience to our club. He was one of the first non-American born assistant coaches at both the NCAA and NBA levels and his most recent head coaching stint includes leading the Slovenian national team to the 2017 EuroBasket title, which was the first European title in the history of the country. Igor’s teams have always had a player development focus, a creative style of play and a track record of success.”

Q: Not a Blazers fan, but what do you think they should do next? — (Alex, Sacramento) Marc STEIN: I’m guessing you’re asking about the roster, but first we have to deal with the status of the coach (Terry Stotts) and the general manager (Neil Olshey). Throughout the Blazers’ first-round sweep by New Orleans, there were rumblings around the league that Stotts’ job was in jeopardy and that teams such as Orlando and Phoenix were ready to pounce if he indeed became available. But that talk has largely quieted since Portland’s early exit.

Kokoskov is lauded for his player-development skills, an asset that is critical for a young Suns team. “It’s different, working with him,” former Jazz point guard George Hill told the Salt Lake Tribune. “The things that he has me do are different than I’ve been used to. But what he’s had me do is phenomenal, little things that I didn’t know would help me become a better shooter and better off the dribble, things like that. We take a lot of time doing balance and core. You always want to work with someone who’s experienced, and Coach has been very good for me.”

Dudley said Kokoskov has a great offensive mind – “When it comes to sets, spacing, being aggressive, he’s really good at that” – and he lauded Kokoskov’s teaching ability, recalling the work he did in improving Shaquille O’Neal’s free-throw shooting. O’Neal shot 51.3 percent from the line in 2007-08. In 2008-2009, Kokoskov’s first season with Phoenix, he shot 59.5 percent. “From a development standpoint he’s really big on players putting in the work, working before games,” Dudley said. “If you watch him in Utah with the players he has, he has a very thorough and extensive pregame workout where he pushes you and is on top of you.”

Booker told azcentral sports Friday that he’s less concerned with whom the Suns hire than he is the future makeup of the roster. “I’ve had three coaches since I’ve been here and I’ve never blamed anything on one of the coaches as an individual,” Booker said. “I’ve had great relationships with all the coaches. I think the NBA just overall, when you need somebody to blame the first person that you go to is the coach. But at the end of the day you need the right players that match each other. Not just the best players. Chemistry helps. “I just don’t think a lot of responsibility is with the coaches. It’s a players’ league.”
6 months ago via ESPN

The Phoenix Suns are beginning their search for a new head coach now, a process that will include interim coach Jay Triano, general manager Ryan McDonough told ESPN. In a coaching market that could be expansive with openings this spring, the Suns want to get a start on connecting with available candidates now and leap into the rest of the coaching market in mid-April when the regular season ends, McDonough said.

“Coach Triano will be part of the process,” McDonough said. “His interview will be a little different than the rest of the candidates, given that we like him and we’ve worked with him for two years now. It’s important to keep in mind he was not our head coach through the offseason so part of his interview would be, ‘If he was hired as the permanent head coach of the Suns, what would he do the same or what he would do differently? What support can we give him organizationally? What would his staff look like?’ I think all of that needs to be discussed.”
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September 19, 2018 | 2:37 pm EDT Update
Butler and Thibodeau met on Tuesday in Los Angeles to discuss his situation, according to multiple sources. Over the last several weeks, Butler began to seriously contemplate his future with the Timberwolves and a potential trade request, league sources said. It was in that meeting that Butler expressed a desire to be traded, telling Thibodeau that he does not intend to sign a long-term extension with the Wolves next summer. He has provided a list of one to three teams with which he would be open to signing a long-term deal, sources said.